MPs accuse Govt of fuelling 'anti-immigration prejudice'

The Government's failure to find accurate estimates of numbers of migrants coming to Britain to work fuelled "anti-immigration prejudice", MPs have said. The Home Affairs select committee said migrant numbers were "more a trickle than a flood".

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Govt 'totally rejects' Home Affairs immigration report

The Government "totally rejects" claims it helped fuel anti-immigration feeling by not carrying out accurate research into the number of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants arriving in the UK this year.

A Home Office spokeswoman said:

We totally reject the Committee's suggestion that not attempting to forecast the number of Romanian and Bulgarians who might come to the UK after the expiry of transitional controls has led to 'anti-immigrant prejudice'.

Any such forecasts would have lacked all credibility - indeed, the failure of previous attempts to predict likely numbers of EU migrants in the past only contributed to the public's concern about uncontrolled immigration.

The Migration Advisory Committee said it would not have been sensible or helpful to make guesses ahead of January 1.

– A Home Office spokeswoman

Recommendations from MPs report on migrants

  • Government should commission official research on the number of Romanians and Bulgarians currently in the UK from its migration advisers, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
  • In the future, MAC should provide estimates for expected arrivals from countries involved in any future enlargements of the European Union.
  • Elsewhere in its report, the Committee said there was little evidence of "benefits tourism" and is much lower than the Government claims.

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Govt helped stir 'unnecessary anti-immigrant prejudice'

The Coalition's failure to accurately estimate the number of Eastern European migrants arriving in the UK in 2014 has fanned the flames of anti-immigration sentiment, according to MPs.

Eastern European migration has become even more controversial because of the lack of proper statistics. Credit: PA

The influential Home Affairs Select Committee accused the Government of having a major part to play in developing "unnecessary anti-immigrant prejudice" against Romanian and Bulgarians coming to the UK for work.

Lead by Labour's Keith Vaz, a report from the Committee said the numbers of migrants from the two countries were "more a trickle than a flood".

Vaz, who emigrated to Britain when he was nine-years-old, said: "The Government's failure to commission an estimate of these numbers has led to unnecessary anti-immigrant prejudice and is a blot on our tolerant society.

"It is essential that for future enlargement of the EU the Government commission research on the impact of migration to the UK. If they do not do so, the Committee will."

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